We’ve all grown up with the phrase “April showers bring May flowers.” Yet, these showers alone cannot guarantee a healthy spring bloom; just as rich soil is the foundation for a vibrant garden, we must nourish our intestinal microbiome to keep it diverse and strong. The gastrointestinal system represents the largest area of immune function in our bodies and with spring comes the perfect time to check in with your gut. Currently, there are specialty labs that will analyze one’s microbiome biodiversity, and this is an area I see developing into common practice in the future.
So where to begin? In the same way that you assess the soil prior to planting, a food diary can help you find a pattern between the foods you eat and your overall well-being without judgment. As a cactus thrives in the desert and lush hastas in the midwest, each individual has a unique digestive baseline. While those with underlying conditions may require a more specific approach, those in good overall health can introduce four basics to refresh the digestive tract and create a strong intestinal barrier: probiotics, prebiotics, glutamine, and colostrum.
Since there are several strains of probiotics, choosing the right product can be overwhelming. A great start is a basic multi-strain product and trial and error to find your specific needs. For a more precise overview of probiotics, www.worldgastroenterology.org is a great resource. While probiotics are microorganisms that replenish one’s microbiome, prebiotics are non-digestible fibers that feed the beneficial bacteria in one’s gut. You can purchase prebiotic supplements or consume them in foods such as flaxseed and oats. Glutamine is an essential amino acid contained in protein that provides an energy source for immune cells and reinforces the intestinal protective barrier. It has shown its vast power in healing and immunity through supplementation - especially in trauma patients. Many recognize colostrum as liquid gold for newborns; however, it is becoming a more mainstream supplementation based on its wide range of immune qualities and intestinal support.
As we learn more about the critical role our GI system plays in our well-being, I hope this will give a good starting point in your understanding of how you can tend to yourself to ensure you flourish this spring.This article is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.